Leopard Twist

It seems like foreva since I shared a sewing project with you. Shame on me! I would love to just say, “I’ve been busy” which, though true is actually not the real reason. Lately, I’ve felt kind of insecure about my sewing ability. It has more or less to do with my own inner critic and really, its just plain old ridiculous. I’ve decided its time to be over that sort of thing. Seriously. Moving right along…

This is the endless wonder that is Vogue 1027. It is such an amazing dress. On my last trip to Joann, they were having a pattern sale. Vogue patterns were $3.99 and so I decided to flip through the pattern book and see if there was a pattern that I didn’t yet own needed. I saw this Donna Karen dress and thought, “If ever there was a time that I needed a knit dress in my life, that time is now.” So I grabbed it right up in my size. Then I went home and got on Pattern Review and read the myriad reviews on this pattern. Even though I do find the Pattern Review site rather hard to navigate, I always do this because the information from sewers like me and you is just so invaluable. I definitely need to be better about reviewing sewing patterns on there because I find so much great information on that site. Anyway, I found that this pattern runs rather large. Actually, I find that with all the knitwear patterns put out by the Big 4 but that is a discussion for another time. After reading many of the reviews, I decided to go down 2 sizes. Perfect fit.

Not surprising since this is a knit dress, but you know, still. Makes me feel like the queen of everything. I made only a couple of small changes to the final dress. I decided to do a contrasting knit band for the neckline – used the selvedge of my fabric for this. I did this to make this version look a little sportier, you know, more everyday wearable. I also decided on a high- low hem (or a mullet hem if you will), a very popular trend for the past year or so and one that I’ve been really liking myself. Makes me feel kind of modern….

This dress pattern is very well engineered. It has in seam pockets – normally something I abhore – but they extend up into the waistline in this really nifty way and so they don’t flop about idiotically when you have something like your credit card or keys in them. Definitely a cue that many other patterns – including those for wovens – could take a lesson from. Also there is an elastic waistline stay in it. At first I was doubting that I would even need this, but actually it creates less tension on the bodice which is about the only thing carrying that heavy skirt.

The fabric here is from lowpricefabrics.com (I love this online fabric store) and its a rayon/spandex 4 way stretch knit. Its so amazingly comfortable. Oiy! Pajama dress more like. And at $5 a yard – what is not to love? Admittedly I’m not normally a knit dress sort of girl. Whenever I’ve tried them on in stores, I find the knit to be extremely thin, very clingy and it looks like something my washer would chew up in a second. So its really refreshing to find such an easy alternative to knit dresses. Additionally, if you get an all over print fabric, this hides a multitude of sins, not the least of which is wrinkles.

I always say this, but I think I’m going to make one more of these dresses. I’ve already got the plan in mind and even the fabric, so I just need to cut it out and sew it up. I’ll keep you posted on that front. Here’s to the summer that’s just ahead!


43 thoughts on “Leopard Twist

  1. Sunni you are adorable! The dress came out great and looks good on you. Don’t you love when all the time, $ and effort actually come out nice?! This looks like a good pattern but I have too many projects waiting to be finished before I could even think about buying a new pattern!

    I love your posts as you share so much, keep on sewing and posting!

  2. YOU have been feeling insecure about your sewing abilities?!! *face palm* i aspire to be as good as you. all i can say is that you must have a nasty virus that has been cooking your brain. get yourself to a doctor, STAT!

  3. Sunni, you look great, and I really like the dress. I love the contrast your hair makes to the grays of the dress. Well done, as always, no need to feel insecure about your skills, at all!

  4. I love it Sunni! I love the added strip of white along the neckline and the hi-lo hemline. I love the fit. I love those little cap sleeves. Why don’t I own this pattern?! Great job!

  5. This is such a great dress! I love the hem of the dress, especially because it’s such a pain when you’re sitting down and it’s so hot that you get a bit “misty” and stick to the seat. Perfect for staying cool in the summer!

  6. Thanks so much for the great pattern review! I nearly bought that one the other day, but definitely didn’t want to spend $27. I’ll have to use a coupon or wait for a sale, but that pattern will be mine! Your version looks great!

  7. You look beautiful! You figured out a very nice curve for the high-low hem, not too steep. I feel nervous about knit dresses too, having seen too many clingy, bad examples on the Boston Common in summer, but they look so pretty in fuller styles like this. Oh, and as for your sewing skills, I was just referencing your amazing handworked buttonholes that always come to mind when I think about beautiful sewing. Your work is wonderful!

  8. Your dress is darling on you. Great job on the contrasting binding, that really shows off the print more. You should never feel insecure about your sewing, I find all your outfits amazing.

  9. great dress! i love the high-low hem you did. i had forgotten about this pattern–i oogled it a bit when i first started sewing with knits a long while ago, but was pretty intimidated by it for some reason. hope to try it out!

  10. Looks great! Thanks for the link to Pattern Review – I’m all signed up now and will have many hours of discovering and learning ahead of me. Always a pleasure to read your articles.

  11. I love this dress, thanks for inspiring me to get off my ass and make a wrap dress out of some jersey I’ve been holding on to for a while!

  12. I not-uncommonly get paralyzed by insecurities about my sewing skills. I think it comes partly from reading people’s blogs and imagining their sewing to be perfect; and thinking I can do more/am more skilled/have more patience than I do. I need to keep stepping back and remembering, it’s NOT going to be perfect but it’ll still probably fit my uber-pear shaped body way better than RTW, for (usually) cheaper, and it’s way better because it’s me-made.

  13. You’ve been insecure about your sewing ability?? Wowsers, I wish I could even be a fraction as experienced and skilled as you! Not trying to suck up but seriously. You have nothing to be insecure about. Me, on the other hand…lol.

  14. This looks gorgeous! It’s terrible timing because i’m on a pattern buying ban. I have far too many untried patterns. And you are not allowed to be feel insecure about your sewing ability! What hope do I have if you are :P?

  15. Sunni you look so beautiful – love the dress and your hair! 🙂 You’re just too cute! I have only recently discovered your blog after taking your AMAZING Craftsy course. You are an inspiration!

  16. Love it— this is the kind of dress that I bet you’ll be reaching for all the time! Honestly, I wouldn’t have noticed this pattern before, but I’m adding it to my list!

  17. I love it! Sometimes you need a quick project to get you back into sewing. I spent yesterday sewing up a quick leather clutch because having lots of unfinished projects gets me bogged down and stops my creativity from coming out. You’re a wonderful sewist- keep it up because that dress looks AWESOME!

  18. Sunni, you are very , very pretty! love the whole look, your hair, the dress, everything. YOU are my sewing inspiration (seriously) and i can’t imagine you are feeling insecure…maybe i should share my projects with you hi hi hi!! 😀 so glad to see your posts again! you have been missed xoxox

  19. I love, love, love this dress! The hem is an added bonus. I can’t help but appreciate a good mullet hem.

    I have a love/hate thing with Pattern Review. It’s aesthetically unpleasing, but so useful. Love/hate is too strong I guess. I visit it out of necessity.

  20. That pattern has a way of sewing itself multiple times. I know a few bloggers who have made it three or four times!

  21. OMG – this is next on my list (to make this weekend). I have a couple of questions: Did you use your coverstitch machine on the binding that goes around the neck down to the hem? (Is that doable if you only have the hem foot?) Could one fold down the neckline and coverstitch that (I know you used binding but I’m wondering if I could coverstitch the neck down with some clear elastic. Since I haven’t actually used the machine I just got (yay!), I really don’t know how it works from the vantage point of adhering clear elastic at the same time as hemming. Perhaps I’ll have to affix the elastic with my serger and then coverstitch the hem (but wouldn’t that be lots of thread??). Maybe the clear elastic isn’t necessary to provide stability on the turned under neckline?

    Any thoughts you have on this would be so appreciated Sunni!

    And your version is lovely btw.

  22. @sweary sewer – It’s mostly been a lot (and I do mean a lot) of wadders aka pieces I couldn’t selvedge. I’ve been trying out new techniques and new patterns and many of them just haven’t been working out. I don’t know, sometimes I just go through a really bad spell of sewing where it seems like nothing I do really works.

    @Amanda S. – I don’t know how I missed this pattern for so long either. It so easy, it practically sews itself.

    @lisa g – definitely do not be intimidated! Its really really really easy. In fact, I’m actually surprised at just how easy it is.

    @Sophi-Lee – Oh I’m definitely not perfect! There are a few things that I should actually probably redo on this make, but I think its fine as is. Maybe next time.

    @K-Line – I think you’ll really like the finished dress. Definitely take it down a size or two though because otherwise I can only imagine how big it is. As for the neckline, the cool thing about this pattern is that the bodice fronts are cut so that the neckline is on grain and the rest of the bodice is off. It does make a surprising difference even in a knit because it doesn’t get all stretched out and baggy from handling and sewing. I think folding it over and using your coverstitch (Yay & Congrats!!!) should be just fine. You could try the elastic, but it may be too fiddly to mess with. You could also go with knit stay tape or strips of fusible tricot. It would help lock it in place so that there is positively no gaping in the area. I used my coverstitch on all the hems though and couldn’t be happier with the way everything turned out. Such an easy and gratifying make this was. I’m sure yours will turn out awesome!

  23. Love the dress, you look fantastic in it! I think many of us can commiserate with feelings of sewing inadequacy, especially when tackling new techniques. Your post has inspired me to finally whip up a wrap dress with some stashed rayon knit 🙂

    I, too, am disappointed by Pattern Review. I began using PR in 2003, when the UI was already clunky, and it hasn’t been updated since then. Compared to Ravelry, a kick-ass knitting and crochet site, PR is shockingly behind. It’s too bad the site hasn’t grown to fill a huge market. I’d really like a place to list my fabric stash, projects I’d like to make, and see and share better photos of finished items.

  24. Thanks for the feedback, Sunni. I’m having an interesting time getting the fit right on the bodice but I’m going to use the fusible interfacing strips (purchased from your great store) on my next round. I found the adhesive tricot too firm (though excellent and I’m def going to use it again!)

  25. Great dress!! Thanks for commenting about reviewing Pattern Review prior to making the dress. I will do the same in the future.

  26. I know exactly how you feel about sewing insecurity. It’s hit me hard recently too. I feel like everything I’ve ever sewn hasn’t been up to my own standards and it’s driving me nuts! I think I’m going to pick just one pattern and make it over and over again until I’m happy with the fit and execution. I love, love, love your dress and might just have to add it to my pattern queue as well. I would NEVER guess that you’re insecure with your sewing, so even though I’m sorry to hear it, it does make me feel better knowing I’m not alone!


  27. Oh, please don’t doubt your abilities. You’re one of my very favorites and I miss when I don’t see your beautiful projects more often. This dress looks great. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a version of this pattern. I’d like to make it, as well.

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